Brand consistency is the delivery of brand messaging in line with the brand identity, values, and strategy over time. Consistency means your target audience is being exposed to core messages, visual branding, and other brand elements repeatedly, which can help to solidify brand recognition. Here’s a closer look at brand consistency and why it’s important for brands.
Definition of Brand Consistency
Brand consistency is the practice of always delivering messages aligned with the core brand values in the same tone, presenting the brand logo in a similar way, and repeating the same colors throughout your visual brand elements. Over time, these elements become ingrained in the minds of consumers, and they’re more likely to remember your brand. Brand consistency also ensures that your brand is easily recognizable across marketing channels and touch points.
It’s not just about the visual elements of a brand, though. CustomerThink identifies three critical areas where brands must be consistent to drive customer loyalty:
- Customer Experience – Providing a consistent customer experience fosters trust and confidence in your brand.
- Values – Back up your words with actions.
- Brand Identity Elements – These are the visual brand components that make your brand recognizable and help you stand out from the competition.
Benefits of Brand Consistency
The most obvious benefit of brand consistency is brand recognition. Every business should strive to be immediately recognizable by their target audience. Not only does it help to build a strong association between your core messages and values and the visual elements of your brand, but it also sets your brand apart from the competition – a particularly valuable perk in highly competitive, saturated markets. Other benefits of brand consistency include:
- Shaping brand perception – When you have brand consistency in your corner, shaping the perception of your brand in the minds of consumers is more easily achieved by introducing key messages alongside your consistent brand elements.
- Evoking positive emotions – When you tie brand consistency to positive emotions (through carefully-crafted words and imagery), your audience will begin to associate those positive emotions with your brand. When done right, those emotions are eventually evoked with exposure to a stand-alone logo or your brand name, whether or not those positive emotion-evoking messages and images are present. That means mere exposure to your brand can make people feel happy, and happy people are more likely to buy (especially from a company they trust).
- Building trust and loyalty – Speaking of trust, brand consistency leads to confidence among consumers that they’ll have a certain experience when they engage with your brand. One often-cited brand example is Coca-Cola, a beverage brand with worldwide recognition. No one ever wonders what a bottle of Coca-Cola will taste like, because brand consistency ensures that it’s always the same. Remember: brand consistency is as much about the customer experience as it is about the visuals.
- Differentiating your brand – Brand consistency is a key factor in differentiation, as well. In a competitive landscape with a variety of near-identical offerings, brand consistency often means the difference between earning a customer’s business or losing them to the competition. Leverage brand consistency to communicate, again and again, what it is that sets your company apart from the rest.
Best Practices for Brand Consistency
How do the world’s most recognizable brands establish and maintain brand consistency? It takes time, but following a few key best practices will keep you on the right path.
Use Caution When Rebranding
While the idea of rebranding your business might seem exciting, always consider the impact on brand consistency. If you haven’t already established distinctive brand assets, rebranding may be feasible without sacrificing some hard-earned brand recognition. If your visual elements are already established distinctive assets with strong brand associations, it’s still possible to rebrand – but do so with caution and only if necessary. If you do, try to maintain some core elements of your old identity to ease the transition.
If It’s Boring, You’re Doing It Right
If you get bored looking at the same visual elements, the same layouts, and the same color schemes for your marketing collateral, you’re on the right track. For those exposed to these brand elements day after day, it tends to get a bit boring for marketers – but that means it’s all the more likely to establish brand recognition in the minds of your target customers.
Use a Brand Style Guide
There are myriad factors that make up a brand, and ensuring consistency across every one is a daunting task. Create a brand style guide to define your brand elements and branding rules to keep everyone on the same page and your materials and messaging on-brand. Your brand style guide should include your company’s mission, the brand’s color palette, fonts (including when and how they’re used, such as for certain headings, etc.), brand voice and copy guidelines, photo and imagery styles, and any other information that your team needs to know to maintain consistency.
Make Approved, On-Brand Materials Easily Accessible
If your brand is like most, you have a variety of professionals hailing from different functions who are creating brand materials in some way or another. Providing easy access to the most up-to-date, approved brand materials – such as logos, templates, images, and even copy – goes a long way in ensuring brand consistency.
To do so, bring your disparate asset repositories together into a single, centralized DAM solution where every team member has easy access to all necessary assets. Without a DAM, your marketing and sales teams are likely wasting time searching for approved assets – or worse, recreating assets without brand consistency in mind. Because it eliminates the time suck of searching for the right assets and the tedious task of ensuring that assets are approved and on-brand, digital asset management helps teams to meet deadlines more efficiently.
Brand consistency is a must for any company that wants to build brand recognition and foster trust among their target audience, and that means that brand consistency is essential for every business. Without it, your target audience won’t recognize your brand, they won’t associate your brand with feel-good messages and positive emotions, and they won’t have confidence that they’ll have a consistent experience if they choose to engage with your brand.
Get in touch with MerlinOne to schedule a demo today and learn how the DAM solution trusted by the world’s most iconic brands can put your organization on the path to brand consistency.